The Masters program Physical Geography is made up of 90 ECTS credits. Thus, the full-time program lasts 1.5 years. 60 ECTS credits must be earned by writing the Master’s thesis. 30 ECTS credits must be earned by taught courses. The choice of these courses depends on your individual research project and is tailored to your interests and needs.

Module                                                  ECTS credits


Core electives min. 15
Elective courses max. 15
Total 90

Compulsory modules

Module ID Title Language ECTS Term
GEO 610 Master's thesis and master's exam English 60 Spring and Fall

The Master's thesis represents an independent scientific work under the guidance of an experienced member of the teaching staff.  The thesis is worth 60 ECTS credits and may extend over two consecutive semesters, but must not exceed 18 months. The results of the thesis will be presented in a public seminar.

Core elective modules

We offer a range of core elective courses, each counting 6 ECTS credits, covering the breadth of Glaciology and Geochronology, Hydrology, Soil Science and Geomorphology:

Module ID Title Language ECTS Term
GEO 411 Field studies on high mountain processes English 6 Spring

GEO 415

Cryosphere English 6


GEO 463 Soil Science I English 6 Fall
GEO 419 Soil Science II English 6 Spring
GEO 412 Soil Science III English 6 Spring
GEO 417 Environmental archives and age determination English 6 Spring / Fall
GEO 418 Atmosphere and Climate English


Spring / Fall
GEO 471 Hydrological field measurements and calculations English 6 Spring
GEO 475 Hydrological Modelling and Programming English 6 Fall

Elective courses

May be freely chosen from the Master’s offerings at the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, or other Swiss universities, in consultation with the mentor. At most 15 ECTS credits of elective courses may count towards the Specialized Master in Physical Geography. The list below shows some possibilities:

Module ID Title Language ECTS Term
GEO 862

Cold Region Hydrology

English 3 Spring
GEO 818 Dendro-Ecology English 6 Spring
701-1253-00L Analysis of climate and Weather data English 3 Fall


Land-Climate Dynamics English 3 Fall


Hydrology II English 3 Fall


Fluvial Systems English 3 Fall


Groundwater English 4 Fall


Water Resources Management English 3 Spring


Numerical Modelling of Weather and Climate English 4 Spring

More information

Read further details in the course catalogue of the University of Zurich.

For enquiries, contact Samuel Abiven (